I loved the way the author uses a deliberate old-style (you may even call it “stilted”) English voice in telling a bittersweet life story of an old-time English butler who is constantly struggling (but not admitting the struggle) between loyalty to his profession and his heart’s true feelings.
After closing the book, one thought has been hovering in my mind: did the author mean this to be a nuanced satire of certain old English ways and values, or is the novel simply an honest and sympathetic account of the life of one stiff-upper-lipped English butler who sacrifices his emotional life for what he regards as his ideal of being a truly professional butler, which literally means putting his master’s interests before anything else?
Perhaps it is a blending of both. One thing that grates me, though, is the seemingly blatant callousness that the protagonist exhibits, especially in the incident of his father’s dying hour.
I’m giving the book 3.7 stars.